Times & Directions Give

"behold, I'm with you always, to the end of the age."

navigate Xclose

All of us share the same terminal condition


What is the best gift you've ever received?  Maybe it was something material, like an expensive piece of jewelry or a new car.  Maybe it was something more sentimental, like a cherished family heirloom or a handmade gift from a child.  Maybe it was not something, but rather someone, like your spouse or your children.  Whatever it is, undoubtedly it is something you value greatly, perhaps even consider priceless.

As we studied this week in the beginning of Acts chapter 3, the lame beggar at the temple gate was in need.  As a man who was crippled from childhood, he was unable to care for or provide for himself.  He was completely dependent upon the generosity of others.  Daily he would sit at the gate begging for charity from passersby.  His survival depended upon it.

When Peter and John approached, it is likely the man saw nothing special about them.  They were just another potential opportunity to put some money in his pocket or food in his stomach.  Little did he know that his encounter with these two followers of Jesus would change his life forever.  You see, in the matter of just a few short moments, a brief exchange of words, Peter would give the lame beggar the greatest gift he would ever receive.  But, what was it?  What gift did he give him?

If you've read Luke's account of the events, you're probably quick to answer, "his ability to walk."  True indeed, that was a wonderful and miraculous gift, given by God through the faith and obedience of the Apostle Peter, but if that was the greatest gift the man ever received, how much should we pity him?  Here's why I say that.  Even an amazing gift such as that, like all earthly gifts, is fleeting and fading away with each passing day.  Scripture doesn't tell us how long the beggar lived after that day.  We can hope he had many wonderful years of life, enjoying the ability that he had spent 40 years living without.  But one thing we know for sure, that man, like all mortal men, died one day.  His bodily healing didn't last forever.

The real gift he received that day was something much greater, something eternal.  Listen carefully to Peter's words in verse 6, he said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”  The important thing to see there isn't the command to rise up and walk, but rather upon whose power and authority the command is given.  It is through Jesus that the man is healed, but his physical healing is just the tip of the iceberg.  We see in the verses that follow, that the man is leaping and praising God as he walks into the temple for the first time.

The real gift he was given that day is the gift we all should long for, and yet, in our brokenness, we don't.  It is worth more than diamonds and gold, and yet you cannot buy it.  You can't hold it in your hands or lock it away for safekeeping.  The greatest gift the world has ever known is spiritual in nature.  It is the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  And if you have received that gift, it is your honor and responsibility to pass it on to others.

Sure, God met the beggar's temporal needs in a miraculous way, but in an even more miraculous way, he met his eternal needs as well.  All of us share the same terminal condition.  We are sinners, living in a broken world, in finite bodies that are slowly wasting away, day by day.  We are separated from God by our sin, spiritually dead, and physically dying.  It is a sad state of affairs.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:4-9)

Don't you just love the "But God..." passages of scripture???  When everything seems hopeless...but God.  When you're lost or hurting...but God.  When you've made a mess of things...but God.  When you've committed treason against your Creator and King, spat in his face, mocked him, beaten him, nailed him to a tree...but God.  See, the hope of the Gospel, the story of the greatest gift ever given, isn't in what we have done or could ever do, but it is in what Jesus has done for us.  Just like the lame beggar, we are spiritually crippled and unable to care for ourselves.  We are completely dependent upon the generosity of another to give us what we need to survive.

When we see ourselves rightly in this way, than we, like the beggar, leap for joy and sing praises to God for the miraculous gift we have been given.  Too often we take for granted or helplessly try to earn that which has been freely given to us.  When we do this, we obscure the true beauty of the gift.  Instead, let us cherish the gift.  Let us value it above all else.  And most importantly, let us share it with the world.

In Grace,
Chris Morris

If you missed this week's sermon (or just want to listen again), follow the link below to listen. Or subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.

Part 7 - The Lame Beggar

Questions discussed in this sermon:

1.  What kind of pattern is established in the beginning of Acts?
2.  Did this miracle fulfill prophecy?
3.  Do we see miracles like this today?

Leave a Comment

Comments for this post have been disabled.

Latest Tweet